Tale Of Struggle: Eviction Adds To Woes Of Existence

IMPHAL, May 16: ‘‘First my husband was shot dead and now I have no place to sell my goods at Khwairamband Bazar. I don’t know how I will feed my children’’, 30-year old Thoibi, a woman vendor said.

For the last 7 years, Thoibi has been selling vegetables and other items along the roadside of Khwairamband Bazar braving the hot sun of the summer and the cold wind of the winter. With the meager income she gets, Thoibi manages her family and sends her children to school.

When the three newly constructed market buildings of Khwairamband Bazar were finally inaugurated and the women vendors from the temporary market sheds shifted to the new buildings, like other hundreds of street vendors, Thoibi too thought that she may get a plot in the temporary market shed. However, the recent State Cabinet decision to evict all the street vendors from Khwairamband Bazar to Lamphel Sanakeithel complex has shattered her hopes and dreams.

Today, it has become very difficult for Thoibi to run her family. In addition to lack of customers, expenses on fare for coming to Lamphel, meal to be taken, etc, leaves nothing precious for her.

‘‘I started going to Khwairamband Bazar while I husband was still alive. My husband used to drive a rickshaw to supplement the income of the family and he tried his level best to bring up the children properly. But State security forces shot him dead on alleged charge of being a UG’’, Thoibi informed.

‘‘Had my husband been alive, I would not have worried so much even if I didn’t get a plot in Khwairamband Bazar. Now that I husband is dead and I have no place to sell my goods in Khwairamband, I don’t know what I am supposed to do to look after the family’’, she added.

After her husband was shot dead by State security forces at Hatta Golapati area on May 15, 2005, Thoibi became the sole breadwinner for her six children, five sons and one daughter. Her eldest son is studying in class VIII and second son in class V. The third son, however, has given up study. The last two sons are in class II and the lone daughter is in Kg class.

‘‘While my husband was alive, we could somehow manage the family and take care of the needs of the children and their education. But it has been long that I have not been able to feed and clothe them properly, not to talk of their education’’, Thoibi said.

Thoibi has not received any benefit of the schemes being implemented by the Government like the Family Benefit Scheme, which is supposed to be provided to a family when the main breadwinner passed away or National Widow Pension meant for poor widows.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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